In our last blog, we covered different activities that are encouraged for people who struggle with varicose veins, and a couple that may dampen overall vein health. Lifting weights was an activity in the article that people may want to proceed with caution and consult a doctor at Venocare about, however with proper care, weightlifting can be incorporated in the management and prevention of varicose veins. Using the following steps, lifting weights with varicose veins is achievable.
Lifting weights with varicose veins
It was once thought that weightlifting with varicose veins wasn’t doable because of the abdominal strain that blocks blood flow through the vena cava resulting in pooled blood in the legs, but with proper actions, weightlifting with varicose veins can be incorporated to your daily activity.
Action 1: Stretch
Lifting weights may not be the most aerobically active exercise, but stretching your leg muscles in anticipation for more strenuous activity allows your veins and muscles to transport blood efficiently — before the main activity. Go through a series of stretches, concentrating on each muscle group. Begin with calf stretches by flexing your calf muscles, followed by your quadriceps, hamstrings, and hips. Light, low-impact movement gives your body and muscles a wake-up call that increases your heart rate and helps get blood flowing to help oxygenate the blood. Stretch for at least five minutes, really focusing on your calves.
Action 2: Perform light cardio
After your muscles and veins are awake from the stretching, this is a great time to move into light cardio. Briskly walk or get on an elliptical or stationary bike for 10 to 20 minutes. Again, this gets everything moving and flowing, in addition to preventing an excess of blood while lifting weights.
Action 3: Alternate your lifts
Now you’re ready to begin lifting weights, once action one and two are performed. Consider alternating your lifts. If you regularly perform standing back squats, switch it up and use a leg press machine. When you alternate your lifts, it varies the pressure to existing varicose veins. If you’re working on shoulders, go inverted! Try out handstand push ups with your legs in the air.
Action 4: use the proper amount of weight
You’ll have to listen to your body, but using the correct amount of weight that is right for you, is crucial. You’re (most likely) not competing in the 2020 Olympics for weightlifting, so lifting an exorbitant amount of weight with varicose veins is discouraged. Too much weight can cause muscle collapse and injury, resulting in your veins ability to open fully and promote blood flow. If you’re going to increase your weight, do it ever so gradually and always have a spotter near by.
Action 5: Perform a proper cool down
After you’re down with your workout, perform a proper cool down. This may include walking, biking, or using the elliptical for 10 minutes afterwards, to maintain blood flow through your veins. Afterwards, perform the same stretches you did for action one. Lastly, if you have time post-training, lay on the floor and put your legs on the wall. This helps circulate blood to the heart at an increased rate and is helpful in healthy vein maintenance.
Action 6: elevate and compress
Always elevate and compress your legs post-workout. Focus on getting your legs above your heart; this may look like propping them up on a couple of pillows while drinking your protein shake, or doing a couple on inversions (handstands). Invest and wear a good pair of compression socks to help reduce the amount of blood that wants to improperly pool in certain areas.
Always avoid sitting or standing for extended periods of time, and consult us here at Venocare with any questions about varicose veins and weightlifting.